FAD Followup

…where FAD stands for Free App of the Day, the Amazon Appstore’s program where they offer a different paid Android app free to customers every day.

This is a followup post to my originalFAD thoughts, posted shortly after I had my first app in the program. Exact download numbers are Amazon-confidential, but suffice it to say that Moon Phase Pro got hundreds of thousands of downloads that day, which significantly boosted its visibility in the Appstore and led to a marked increase in paid revenue for weeks afterward. A good deal all around.

Some months later, Amazon offered me another FAD spot for another app, PolyClock – and since my first experience had been quite positive, I didn’t hesitate. This time things didn’t go nearly as well; the total downloads were much lower, and there wasn’t a significant sales boost after the day. I simply chalked it up to the app in question being more niche-oriented, with a narrower appeal. And since there really wasn’t a downside, I didn’t worry much about it.

Then came my third app in the Program, Convertor Pro, after Amazon extended FAD to their European markets. And unfortunately, I have to say that this was a downright disaster. Again, I can’t reveal exact sales numbers, but since around Christmastime Convertor Pro has been selling reasonably well in the UK; it’d been hovering in the top 5 in its category. Not paying for my retirement, perhaps, but a respectable earner.

Then came its FAD spot – and sales immediately plummeted, to a small fraction of what they’d been before. It’s been about ten days now, and its ranking in category is currently around #15 and still dropping.

Of course, I have no proof that FAD was responsible for the drop, but when you look at a graph of its ranking over time, the correlation is hard to deny:

That green bar there is its free day. (The numbers below are its ranking on a given day before FAD.)

So in summary, I’m nowhere near as impressed with FAD as I was a year ago. Perhaps it still makes sense for some apps – but my advice right now is: if your app is already earning any kind of money in Amazon’s Appstore, don’t risk it.

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